Fluctuations of Water near Extended Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Surfaces

AJ Patel and P Varilly and D Chandler, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 114, 1632-1637 (2010).

DOI: 10.1021/jp909048f

We use molecular dynamics simulations of the SPC-E model of liquid water to derive probability distributions for water density fluctuations in probe volumes of different shapes and sizes, both in the bulk as well as near hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces. Our results are obtained with a biased sampling of coarse-grained densities that is easily combined with molecular dynamics integration algorithms. Our principal result is that the probability for density fluctuations of water near a hydrophobic surface, with or without surface water attractions, is akin to density fluctuations at the water-vapor interface. Specifically, the probability of density depletion near the surface is significantly larger than that in the bulk, and this enhanced probability is responsible for hydrophobic forces of assembly. In contrast, we find that the statistics of water density fluctuations near a model hydrophilic surface are similar to that in the bulk.

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